Incorporating small group activities into your daily schedule is essential for teaching cooperation and teamwork skills to preschoolers. By creating multiple learning stations in your classroom, you will help to facilitate preschool small group activities. These activity centers are designed to suit groups of up to five or six children, featuring materials that they can play with and explore together.
Why are Small Groups So Important?
There are many benefits to small group activities in the classroom, for both children and educators. Here are some of the most common reasons early childhood educators incorporate small group time into their curriculum:
Since preschoolers are still in the process of developing their cognitive and social skills, they often function best when in small group settings. These activities are a great opportunity for all children involved to further develop their social skills through structured interaction, using language to express their thoughts and needs with peers to accomplish a task.
Cooperation is also taught through preschool small group activities. By working with just a few of their peers towards a common goal, they will further develop their cooperation skills, conversation skills, and discover how to share and be fair. Through small group play, they will learn that they won’t always get their way and sometimes have to compromise.
By creating small groups amongst your preschoolers, you’ll be able to encourage friendships between children who do not normally play together. This can help create a more inclusive atmosphere within the classroom. Continue to switch up the makeup of the groups regularly to help new friendships form and to expose preschoolers to the concept of working with different types of people with different points of view.
Setting up small group opportunities in your preschool classroom also allows you and your staff to watch children more closely and observe their behavior when working with a team. Visiting activity stations and focusing on just a few children at a time, observation and note taking is made easier as you see them interact.
Interest and Support
Preschool small group activities also allow early childhood educators to set up groups based on the interests and abilities of children. You may wish to assign a transportation-related activity to a group of children who have developed a newfound interest in trains and railways. Or, you may wish to pair students who are highly advanced in a particular developmental area with those who may be falling a bit behind in order to assist them.